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Best pet water fountains: Give your pet clean, running water and never refill a bowl again

Birman cat drinking out of pet water fountain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Our furkids aren’t always the best at stopping to rehydrate, which is where the best pet water fountains can come in handy. Having a source of clean running water in a place that your dog or cat passes by often is an excellent way of encouraging them to drink. 

While both the best dog food and the best cat food have wet food options that can help with hydration for pets that don’t drink enough, supplementing this with a source of fresh water is the best way to prevent urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and maintain optimal health and wellbeing. 

You may be wondering why you should opt for a pet water fountain over a regular water bowl and that’s a good question. The best pet water fountains have some distinct advantages in that they’re easier for animals to access, have filter systems that ensure the water remains hygienic, and are low maintenance. Also, much like an automatic pet feeder they don’t need to be filled up as often and are less likely to tip over, making life easier for both you and your pet.

If you notice that your dog or cat loves drinking out of puddles or faucets but won’t go near a regular water bowl, you may find that swapping over to a pet water fountain is more enticing. Running water mimics the water in streams and rivers that dogs and cats evolved to drink from, so providing a water source that taps into those instincts will make it more likely that your pet will stop for a drink whenever they’re wandering by.

With every pet having different needs and every pet parent having a different budget, we’ve made sure to include a range of water fountains from affordable and perfectly adequate options to the best pet water fountains that money can buy. Whatever kind of pet water fountain you’re after, we’ve got you covered. Ready to dive in? 

PetsRadar's pick of the best pet water fountains

Pet water fountains: PetSafe Drinkwell 3.7 litre Pet Fountain product shot

(Image credit: Petsafe)

PetSafe Drinkwell 3.7 litre Pet Fountain

Best for capacity

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 3.7L | Designed for: Medium to large dogs | Filter: Carbon

One of the largest pet fountains available
Uses both a carbon and sponge filter
Fiddly to clean
Some animals (and humans) could find the pump’s loud buzzing irritating 

This fountain is ideal for both medium-to-large dogs and large (or big-boned, to avoid offense) cats, and although there are fountains with higher capacities, this one strikes the perfect balance – it’s big enough to keep your pet hydrated for hours on end, but compact enough to allow furry friends to rehydrate without the risk of an accidental dunking. As with all fountains, its main selling point is the constant stream of water – in this case, a flow that can be customized depending on the preferences of your pet. The smooth, molded interior is easy to clean, although the same can’t be said for the pump, which (like any water fountain pump) needs to be cleaned regularly to remove any build-ups of saliva or fur – we recommend using a small wire brush for this one. Luckily, the combination of a sponge and carbon filter (which should ideally replaced once a month) does a great job of keeping the water clean and clear. 

Pet water fountains: PetSafe Drinkwell Butterfly Pet Fountain

(Image credit: Petsafe)

PetSafe Drinkwell Butterfly Pet Fountain

Best for appearance

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 1.5L | Designed for: Small dogs | Filter: Carbon

Attractive to look at
Easy to clean 
Not suitable for larger dogs
Lightweight design makes it easy for animals to move accidentally 

A brilliant option for small dogs and cats, this day-glo water fountain is ideal for the style-savvy pet owner. To start with, its spout is topped with a model of a butterfly, and the retina-burning shade of turquoise offers a welcome alternative to the varying shades of grey used for many pet fountains. Four-legged friends won’t need to form an orderly queue, either – four water spouts make it easy for multiple animals to rehydrate simultaneously, although you can also pop off the butterfly topper to create a single water spout. Cleaning this fountain is also incredibly easy – simply take it apart and place the plastic pieces in the dishwasher. The pump needs a quick manual clean twice a month. 

Pet water fountains: Pioneer Pet Raindrop Plastic Pet Fountain

(Image credit: Pioneer)

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Plastic Pet Fountain - 1.8 litres

Best for style and price

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 1.8L | Designed for: Small and medium-size dogs | Filter: Charcoal

A low profile means it won’t block cupboard doors or drawers
A wide, gentle water spout means less mess
The pump can become noisy if the water isn’t topped up regularly 
The angle of the water flow might make access tricky for smaller animals 

Bring some harmony to your household with this pretty dog fountain, which has a yin and yang-inspired shape. The water spout is less like a fountain and more like a gentle trickle – instead of being ejected into the air, the water flows down a narrow channel into a generously-sized bowl. The downside is that the spout isn’t the most accessible one we’ve seen, especially for smaller dogs and cats. On the plus side, Pioneer Pet gets a gold star for the ease with which this can be assembled, as well as the super strong suction cups – nothing’s worse than a full-to-the-brim pet fountain sloshing its way across a kitchen floor.  

Pet water fountains: Petkit Smart Drinking Fountain product shot

(Image credit: Petkit)

Petkit Smart Drinking Fountain

Best for keeping water clean

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 2L | Designed for: Medium to large dogs | Filter: carbon

Timer function 
De-ionizing feature
Bulky profile 
Unforgiving color scheme

A brilliant option for discerning doggies and cosseted cats, this hi-tech water fountain does it all – there are multiple settings (the one you’re most likely to settle on is smart mode, which works on a five-minute cycle, welling up every three minutes before a two-minute rest), a noise-minimizing pump (it produces less than 40db per 50cm radius) and what’s known as an ion-exchange resin, which helps to de-ionize the water. Whether your pet will notice this particular benefit remains to be seen, but two features which definitely earn this fountain some brownie points are the alerts – the light which appears when the filter needs changing, and the alarm which sounds when the water needs topping up.

Pet water fountains: PetSafe Current Pet Fountain Small product shot

(Image credit: PetSafe)

PetSafe Current Pet Fountain Small

Best for multiple pets

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 1.2L | Designed for: Small dogs | Filter: Charcoal

An ultra-quiet pump
Easily accessible 
Not the prettiest of pet fountains 
Water pump positioning could be better

A great fountain for pets who need a little encouragement to drink enough water, but who might be unnerved by hi-tech fountains which flash, beep and vibrate, this minimalist model might not nab first place in the looks department, but it does what it says on the tin – ensuring your pet has an easily accessible, constant flow of filtered water. Its low profile and dog bowl-inspired shape are less likely to unsettle dogs and cats, although our one gripe is the positioning of the pump – despite the deepness of this fountain’s bowl, the hardware has been placed near the rim, which means you’ll need to keep a close eye on water levels to ensure it doesn’t run dry.

Pet water fountain: A black and white dog drinking from the Zeus Dog Drinking Fountain

(Image credit: Zeus)

Zeus Dog Drinking Fountain

Best for dogs who live life in the slow lane

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 6L | Designed for: Large dogs | Filter: Carbon

Minimalistic styling 
Provides an incredibly easily accessible water source 
Needs to be perfectly flat 
Hard to keep track of water level

This bucket-style fountain is great for larger dogs, especially ones with mobility issues. This is because the water isn’t emitted in the form of a vertical jet, but a gentle stream which swirls around the fountain’s raised platform, before draining away down the sides. In other words, there’s a constant, gently-swirling pool of water for pets to sip from, and with a six-liter capacity, you won’t need to refill it regularly. Which is especially handy with this model, because the one major downside is the inability to monitor water levels – unlike most water fountains, there’s no open bowl area, so you’ll only know when it’s time to refill once the water runs out.

How to choose the best pet water fountain

Although many water fountains for pets have similar features, our research proved that certain ones are invaluable – the best ones are easy to dismantle and clean, simply because it’s all too easy to underestimate the pump and filter-clogging capabilities of pet saliva, dander and fur. 

A device designed to keep water levels topped up also needs some level of stability. With lighter models, grip patches on the base will often be enough to keep the water fountain in place, but with heavier fountains, nothing beats a set of suction cups. 

It’s also important to bear in mind that the most common reason people invest in a pet fountain is because of the time it can save – constantly filling your pet’s bowl is thirsty work (excuse the pun). This is precisely why we suggest looking for features designed to save time and minimize stress levels, whether it’s an alarm which sounds when water levels need topping up, a light which indicates the need for a replacement filter, or design which can be easily broken down into dishwasher-proof pieces.